So where does the consumer fit in when it comes to analysing the potential for change? For a start, we've pretty much given up on our politicians doing anything substantial about today's converging sustainability crises. It seems they'll only act when they're 'given permission' to act by others: by the private sector, for instance, or, occasionally, by voters.
The government is failing to show the leadership we need. It talks about putting tax avoidance on the agenda of the G8 but is not coming forward with concrete proposals. And it is undermining the ability of HMRC to administer and collect the tax, by cutting its resources too far and too fast.
With yet more allegations of bullying and abuse in the armed forces, the time has come for the government to act on its promise to ensure that serving personnel are treated fairly and get access to the support they need when they leave active service.
So will the optimism that's been building up towards the end of 2012 be quashed in 2013 just as in previous years? We'll have to wait and see but since growth forecasts for 2013 have been slashed left, right and centre recovery looks like it'll be feeble at best.
That race is one from recession to recovery. It will be an urban recovery so it will be the best-equipped cities that are going to lead it. Liverpool has its Mayor in Joe Andersen and that fact alone makes him one of Labour's most powerful leaders and helps to differentiate the city.
Inflation is going to be a big story in 2013 worldwide but especially for the UK. While the Bank of England's asset purchase program isn't in itself inflationary, the devaluation of sterling is. Our largest import through 2013, because of the Bank's monetary policy, will be inflation.
I can understand why Cameron is in some ways reluctant to deal with Mr Farage. What the Ukip leader has been doing, very cleverly, is to move his party onto the ground left empty by the prime minister's push for the centre.
Unlike buying a car or new kitchen, the hard pressed commuter of today is often paying for improvements that will be enjoyed years from now. When upgrades do arrive, the benefits are often taken up in the form of catering for increased demand.
It hasn't been admitted publicly - but it looks like the Tories' war on lone parents has resumed. Lone parents won't forget the way in which they were demonised by previous Conservative governments - Peter Lilley's "little list", John Redwood's notorious visit to the St Mellons estate in Wales - and a host of policies that left lone parents struggling in poverty to bring up children on their own.
today's re-launch didn't tell us a huge amount. We were promised action on childcare support, support for first-time buyers and, yet again, greater investment in infrastructure... But detail remains largely absent, with more to be dripped out between now and the Budget in April.
As governments down the years have discovered, welfare is a political minefield. Most people think they pay more into the government’s welfare pot through taxes than they draw out in benefits.
George Osborne has conjured up an image of lazy unemployed people enjoying comfortable lives whilst other (decent) people get up early to go out to work. This feeds into the same theme in some parts of the media about lazy unemployed people but is far from the reality.
Please do not be so naive as to believe that in decriminalising certain drugs you will be able to regulate them. All it will do is endorse the market place and generate growth in the drug industry, creating opportunity for low cost and black market goods, synthetic evolutions and copies.
With the Conservative Party unveiling a new ad campaign in marginal seats, which basically divides voters into hard-working 'strivers' and stay-at-home 'shirkers', and with Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg launching on attack on universal benefits, it seems the perfect time to debunk ten key myths about the UK's welfare budget and, specifically, 'out of work benefits'.
In rejecting Leveson's minimalist but essential proposal on statute David Cameron has divided his coalition and party while letting down the victims of press misconduct who genuinely believed he would do the right thing. Worse still, he has put his perception of the political interests of the Tory party ahead of the national interest.
Yesterday was a chance for George Osborne to signal he would act to get the economy moving again in order to get the deficit down and begin to turn around his failing ship. Instead he stuck dogmatically to the course which led Britain to the longest double-dip recession since the war and the slowest recovery of any in the last century.